Marble Zone

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
Marble Zone
Marble Zone
Second Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
Number of Acts: 3
Location: South Island
Level themes: lava/volcano, underground/cave, ancient ruins
Boss: Egg Scorcher
Maximum rings, Act 1: 62 + 70
Maximum rings, Act 2: 55 + 60
Maximum rings, Act 3: 72 + 30
Non-English names:
Green Hill Zone | Spring Yard Zone
For the Sonic Drift racetrack, see Marble (Sonic Drift).

Marble Zone is the second Zone in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, following after Green Hill Zone. The Zone combines the themes of ancient ruins, caves and lava.


Marble Zone opens with Sonic arriving at a mountainous/forest region of South Island populated with ancient ruins filled with pools of bubbling hot lava that will certainly cause harm if the hedgehog lands in them. The outdoor slopes of these ancient marble buildings are teeming with verdant grass, even on the moving platforms bobbing about in the lava. The grass on some of these platforms will even catch fire upon making contact with the lava, so the player often has to jump off quickly.

Most of the Zone has the player go underground into a massive dungeon maze full of lava pools and spike traps. In contrast with the previous Zone, Marble Zone involves more careful, slower-paced gameplay, such as requiring the player to negotiate moving platforms suspended by chains, step by moving glass pillars that can crush them, and ride on slow-moving marble blocks across the lava. Streams of lava can also fall from the ceiling to make crossing lava pits more treacherous, and fireballs can jump from the pits or fire out of the walls and ceilings to get in the player's way. The concept of switch-controlled doors is also introduced.

In this Zone is a particular graphic representing a pair of lions around a fountain, a stereotypical Greco-Roman idea. It somewhat resembles Mario from the Super Mario series of games, though this is likely a coincidence:



Traverse the underground path to the underground temple with swirling lava.
The temple is teeming with traps.
Watch out for chained ceilings with sharp needles, up-and-down hammers and the piles of needles that pop out.

Sonic the Hedgehog JP manualMedia:Sonic1 MD JP manual.pdf[1] (translation by Vertekins)[6]

Leap across pools of red-hot lava and shifting islands. Then find the way to the underground palace where massive weights and flying balls of fire block your path.

Sonic the Hedgehog US manualMedia:Sonic1 MD US manual.pdf[7]

Early in production, Labyrinth Zone was going to be the second stage. But Labyrinth is much harder than the early stages, and it would have been a sudden spike in the difficulty. Sonic is really a different sort of action game compared to anything that had been made at that time, so we really wondered if it was OK to have him running through every stage so quickly, so we wanted there to be a moment for the player to catch his breath.

Yuji NakaSonic Jam Official Guide[8]


Caterkiller — Their body is protected by spikes. Jump on its head to avoid taking damage.
Buzz Bomber — Found above ground. Shoots projectiles from its stinger.
Batbrain — Found underground, suspended from ceilings. They will swoop down at the player as they approach them.


S2 ricky.gif
S2 rocky.gif


Spikes S1 spr.png
Spikestomp S1 spr.png
Suspended platform with spikes underneath — Found in underground areas, comes in various sizes.
Fireball S1 spr.png
Fireball — Jumps out of exposed lava pools and holes in walls.
Lavawall S1 spr.png
Wall of slowly-advancing lava — Always moves to the right.

In other media

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Marble Zone appeared in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Subterranean Sonic", where it looks completely different than it usually does: there are no ancient ruins to speak of, but instead it is a barren valley with active volcano-geysers, and a complex underground network that's rich with metals and gemstones. It is also the home of Spelunk the Mole, who has booby-trapped the underground tunnels so that nobody can take any of the treasure he's mined for himself.

Sonic the Comic

In the Sonic the Comic series, Marble Zone is featured in issue #3's "Mayhem in the Marble Zone" where Sally Acorn's brother, Tufftee, ran off to the Zone with an old pair of Sonic's Power Boots to be a hero, only to be ganged up on by Badniks. Sonic arrived in the nick of time and saved Tufftee from the Badniks and the Zone's crushing spike traps.


Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)
Sonic1 title.png

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